As you might expect, the campus is a bit quieter over the summer months. But there is still excitement in the air, and a charged atmosphere.
Our new men’s basketball coach, Kareem Richardson, has signed some exciting new players, many with local connections. This school is ready to take its place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), ready for some exciting games, and ready for all of our athletes to display their talents in places like Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Arlington, Texas, and other major venues.
I have always had a high regard for UMKC’s sports programs. The coaches and staff go the extra mile to connect with the community and to be another source of civic pride. They hold the scholar athletes to high standards, and they deliver. UMKC students and their instructors set up booths at community health fairs to make sports physicals available to kids at no or low cost. Kids’ sports camps are held on campus to teach fundamentals of soccer, softball, basketball and volleyball.
The way I see it, university sports programs are a different kind of community service, creating a tangible relationship between its fans and its teams. You can see more evidence of this at local Rally House and Kansas Sampler stores, which have added Roo gear to their inventories. And we have forged a new partnership with Sporting KC, the Major League Soccer team, because it pairs two rising organizations that are achieving goals and gaining fans.
One of my first duties as part of the WAC was to attend a meeting in Denver on June 10, for the heads of all member schools. There are 16 of us now, ten continuing members and six new affiliates, and I was proud to be asked to join the conference executive committee and serve as chair for the 2015-16 academic year. I am enthusiastic about the expanded opportunities for UMKC students and a more competitive environment.
The WAC website prominently announces the number of days, hours minutes and seconds until the 2013-14 WAC season opens in late August.
The Roos are ready.